The main purpose of the DragonRiders Gallery is to display artwork created by the members of the club. Personal photographs can be posted if the submission guidelines are met. The use of celebrity photographs (including altered photographs in which the depicted celebrity is recognizable) as persona pictures in the DragonRiders Gallery is not permitted due to legal issues (see below). If you identify a picture that is in violation with this rule, please contact the Webbies and/or the Council.
The reason for this ruling is the necessity to protect the club from possible lawsuits by assuring that pictures posted in the DragonRiders Gallery are not violating Copyright, the Right of Privacy or the Right of Publicity. For better understanding, these three Rights are explained below. In summary, the use of a celebrity image may bring legal action by the celebrity (or legal representative of a deceased celebrity) and by the copyright holder for the photograph or digital image. To minimize the risk of such lawsuits, the use of images recognizably showing a celebrity in the DragonRiders Gallery is not permitted.
Copyright for photographs by default lies with the owner of the photographic material used to take the picture (usually, but not necessarily, the photographer). This means, only if you own the negative or original image, you are the copyright holder.
Before you copy and/or alter a photograph for which you don't own the negative, you need to ask the copyright holder for permission. Failure to do so or falsely claiming the picture as your own may result in lawsuits for violation of copyright.
The Right of Privacy protects people from having recognizable pictures of themselves displayed to the public eye against their will.
This means, before you post a photograph of another person on a public web site, you need to ask that person for permission, even if you are holding the copyright on the image itself. Pictures of children or minors require permission by the parents or guardian before being published. Failure to ask for permission or displaying another person's image out of context might result in possible lawsuits for violating someone's privacy rights.
The Right of Publicity lies with the person(s) depicted in the photograph and becomes especially important if the photograph shows a celebrity and/or is of commercial value. It basically means that people have the right to secure financial compensation for allowing pictures of themselves to be published and the right to grant the exclusive privilege of publishing such pictures to the publisher of their choice. Posting such images without permission might mean risking a lawsuit for stealing or lowering the commercial value of a picture by unauthorized publishing.
Before a photograph or altered photograph can be posted on the web risk free from lawsuits resulting from violations of the Rights noted above, the following permissions would need to be obtained:
- Written permission from the copyright owner for copying/altering their work
- Written permission from the person(s) depicted for publishing a recognizable image of them
The laws mentioned above also prohibit the alteration of pictures or photographs without permission by the original copyright holder and the person(s) depicted with the following possible exceptions:
- Amateur artists may trace a picture from a photograph and use it as the basis for creating an individual artwork using their own skill, effort and expertise with another artistic medium than photography (e.g. pencil, watercolor, pastels).
- Amateur artists may digitally alter a photograph and claim the resulting picture as their own work if it ends up having "no substantial similarity" with the original any more, or in other words, if the image is unrecognizable in relation to the original.
The following small selection of websites offers more detailed information about the Rights and issues involved in using photographs on the web:
- http://www.vergemag.com/1000/feat/copyrt.html - Clearance and Copyright for Publication of Photographic Images (by Matthew S. Patner)
- http://www.ivanhoffman.com/photos.html - Rights to Use Photographs (by Ivan Hoffman)
- http://www.publaw.com/photo.html - Publication of Photographs: Is a Release Required? (by Lloyd L. Rich)
- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/copothr.html - Privacy and Publicity Rights (The Library of Congress)
The Dragonriders of PernŽ is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.